Wholesale domain registrar Tucows Inc. has used the visit of President and Chief Executive Officer Elliot Noss at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) Melbourne meeting this week to attack competitor VeriSign Inc. and ICANN itself over their privacy policies.
Noss is lobbying for a change in registrar's operating agreements with ICANN and VeriSign, concerned that current agreements allow registrars and their resellers to use registration information as the basis for unsolicited e-mail and fax marketing. Noss believes private information is often being sold off to third-party companies for mass marketing purposes.
"This is occurring regularly as the names are sold, generating a great deal of spam," said Tucows spokesperson Tim Denton, also visiting Melbourne for the ICANN conference. "The problem is that VeriSign and its resellers have given their customers the burden of opting out. The customer has to take affirmative steps to secure their data, rather than having their data secured from the outset. The burden should be going the opposite direction."
Tucows is the closest competitor to VeriSign, which formerly owned a monopoly on the dot-com, dot-org and dot-net domains. In the fourth quarter of 2000, Tucows sold more of these domain names than VeriSign, driven largely by its worldwide network of 5,000 resellers, more than 50 of whom operate out of Australia.
Noss will continue to raise the privacy issue during the ICANN conference, in the hope that the VeriSign Registrar License and agreement, and the ICANN Registrar Accreditation Agreement will be adjusted to protect the registrant's information.
"Changing ICANN registration will take a change in the climate of opinion," said Denton. "The board of ICANN must take note of this issue and start to exert pressure to change the Registrar Accreditation agreement."